The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has kicked against the move by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to restrict the asses of governors in the disbursement of local government funds.
It will be recalled that the Unit had in a letter dated May 6, provided new guidelines which said that the joint account system being used currently in the country by state and local governments only exist for the receipt of allocations from the federation account but not for disbursement.
Also last week, the unit asked the governors to hands off local government funds.
But the governors in response has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call NFIU to order.
According to them, NFIU has no business meddling in how state governments disburse funds to their respective local governments.
In a letter issued on behalf of the governors by Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, NGF spokesman, they described the measures as a “brazen attempt by the NFIU to ridicule our collective integrity”.
The statement read, “Extracting copiously from the constitution, governors drew the attention of the President to section (6) (a) and (b) which confers on the States and National Assemblies the powers to make provisions for statutory allocation of Public revenue to the Local Councils in the Federation and within the states respectively.”
“Similarly, the Governors added, Section 162 (6) expressly provides for the creation of the States Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA) into which shall be paid all allocations to the LGAs of the State from the Federation Account and from the government of the state.
“The NGF Chairman emphasises that nothing in the NFIU Act 2018 gives the body the powers that it seeks to exercise in the guidelines that it released and is therefore acting in excess of its powers and by so doing, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar added, NFIU exhibits complete disregard of the constitution of Nigeria.”
The governors equally stated that local government councils are a creation of the constitution and are not financial institutions.
“They are not reporting entities and are therefore not under the NFIU in the manner contemplated by the NFIU so-called guidelines,” they said.
“In principle the NFIU should concentrate on its core mandate of Anti-money laundering AML activities and Combatting financing Terrorism CTF as prescribed in the Act establishing it and should desist from encroaching on or even breaching constitutional provisions.
“The NFIU should seek to comply with those standards on combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and its proliferation as stipulated and not dabble into matters that are both constitutional and beyond NFIU purview.”